Posted on March 30, 2020
Life with balance.
By Valerie Nowak, LMHC, MPA, Chief Executive Officer, Harmonia Collaborative Care
March 30, 2020
We all strive to find balance in our lives. To find concordance between our family, our passions, our work and our home. There are many challenges to a balanced existence, sickness, addiction, the realities of aging and the burdens of life.
Harmonia, the Latin word for harmony, can also mean melody, consonance and concordance. It speaks to disparate pieces working together to create something whole. At Harmonia, our mission is to help harmonize our clients’ lives, so they can move to a melody that supports healthy balance.
Harmonia Collaborative Care, formerly Community Concern of WNY, is a NYS licensed non-profit organization providing behavioral health, Health Home and senior care services to foster an individual’s independence and improve their quality of life.
As we all struggle to conform in our new normal, focusing on self-care can help stem the tide of emotional discomfort. Here are a few tips for staying calm during this difficult time:
- Limit your news exposure. It’s okay to be informed, but over-exposure to negative news can wreak havoc on your mental well-being. On top of it, stress puts our immune system at risk, which is exactly what we want to avoid!
- Try a hobby. When our minds are pre-occupied with something unpleasant, that is the perfect time to take on a task, do a craft, color, clean, etc. Activities like these have an amazing way of “changing the station” in our brain and getting us “un-stuck” from negative thoughts.
- Stay connected. It is easy to isolate in times like these. Take the necessary precautions to stay safe, but remember that we benefit from socialization, and being alone in our solitude only leads to more negative thinking and fear.
- If you panic. First, avoid saying, “Don’t panic” to yourself or anyone else; it only intensifies the fear. Instead, find ways to ride-it-out. No panic attack lasts forever, and it is a normal response to fear.
- Picture a balloon in your belly. When you breathe in you want to fill up that balloon and watch your stomach expand. When you exhale, let that balloon deflate. Repeat, in a slow, rhythmic fashion, allowing that breath deep into your belly. (Note: Laying on the floor or a bed can help allow you to see this motion).
- Pick a category (animals, cars, names). Then go through the alphabet, naming something from your category for each letter. If you get stuck, move to the next letter. This is a quick way to disengage panic.
- Call for help. Friends and family can be a good source to talk things out, or even to talk about something different and get your mind off it. However, if you find yourself struggling with anxiety and worry often than not, it may be time to take it to the professionals.
Harmonia’s full range of support include behavioral health and senor care services, along with Health Home case management, from our two beautiful facilities in Derby and Hamburg, and from individuals’ homes across Western New York. Our professional staff prides itself in providing empathic care to help bring balance to the lives of our clients. We strive to enable people to attain their highest level of well-being and independence through our integrated Mental Health, Senior and Health Home services, while reducing the cost of care for individuals and funders alike.
We have all heard the challenges individuals with mental health needs undergo due to stigma and access to help. The number of people in need in our community is growing. Additionally, in a rural setting, access to care is challenging because of the isolation brought about by lack of transportation.
The same is true for our seniors. They are isolated physically and emotionally. Our programs strive to meet them where they are, supporting their needs and elevating their quality of life.
Our mental health counseling provides services to individuals 13 and up, senior citizens and families in need of support through our programs. Under normal circumstances, our CarePanion program provides in-home housekeeping and companionship to seniors to support keeping them in their homes.
The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated our delivery of quality Telebehavioral health to all of our behavioral health clients to continue treatment and support in our confinement.
In this time of health crisis, visit our website at www.harmonia-care.org or Facebook page for tips and reminders on how to reduce stress and anxiety. Or, if the anxiety of this time seems too much to bear, call us directly at 716-947-5025. In case you need to talk to someone outside of our hours, please call Crisis Services at 834-3131.